Many people ask what is the age range for the club. We have had participants and members of all ages, from mid-twenties to mid-seventies. Primarily, however, we are a middle-aged group, with average age of about 40-45. It depends to a large extent on the particular activity. Generally, the more adventurous athletic and outdoor type events, such as volleyball, hiking, and tubing, draw a younger crowd, and less strenuous things such as dinners and house parties are attended by an older group. But this is a generalization: there are still people of all ages at all events.
We openly welcome, and encourage, participation by a diverse mix of people from all races, religions, nationalities, and walks of life. However, we tend to be primarily a white, middle-class, semi-professional group.
Sometimes people ask this question, and most of them seem to differentiate between those who have never been married, and those who are separated, divorced, or widowed. Actually, we do not keep data on that information, but my observation is that, among the regular attendees, probably 30% of the men have never been married, whereas perhaps only 15% of the women are in that category.
Our guidelines are merely that one should be compatible with the group. With that in mind, married people or committed couples may participate in appropriate activities, but we do request that people do not misrepresent themselves. In other words, people who come to our events usually are looking to meet someone for an eventual relationship, so they would be very discouraged to find, after an extended conversation, that the object of their interest is "unavailable". On the other hand, the main purpose of our events is to provide an interesting activity and a chance to meet new people, and I feel it is good to have friends who may be married as well as single.
Of course, I cannot answer this with total certainty, since I don't know how you interact with others. However, be assured that most activities, especially those that have been advertised in local papers or other public media, are attended by a large proportion of newcomers. On a recent hike with ten people, for instance, more than half were new to the club. We also try to make newcomers feel welcome, and you are encouraged to talk to the activity leader if you feel uncomfortable for any reason. We will try to introduce you to some people we know, or answer any questions you may have.
Many people have been involved with other singles clubs that hold dances as their primary activity. We do have dances occasionally, about three or four times a year, but we try to provide an alternative to that venue. Some people have described their experience at dances as being like a "meet market", where you must compete with others for attention, often based on superficial qualities such as physical appearance or smooth talking. I have also witnessed much more "predatory" behavior at dances, where people (primarily guys) scope out the dance, waiting for "good looking" women to come in, and only then commit to paying the price of admission. I don't know exactly how they operate when they circulate among the crowd, but I imagine their behavior is similar to that which most people disdain and try to avoid as the "bar scene". To minimize this phenomenon, we try to make our dances more of a singles party with an opportunity to dance, and perhaps add some alternate activities such as dance contests and places to talk away from the loud music.
One must remember that this is a singles club with essentially "open" membership, and we do not deny membership for any reason, unless it is well known that someone has caused serious problems and is likely to do so again. So far, this has not been a real issue. However, it is also to be noted that an organization that has as its main emphasis the fact of being single, is also likely to attract those who have "nowhere else to go". People who are single come in many varieties. Quite a few are quite happy in their lifestyle, but most of these, probably, are very often involved in long-term relationships, so you rarely see them. Some people are lacking in certain social skills, so they have a difficult time meeting and becoming involved with other people. Others may not really be looking for a relationship, but simply want to enjoy pleasant activities and social interaction. People who are recently divorced, separated, or widowed often have emotional problems of various degrees of severity, and may either be disinterested in new relationships, or overly anxious to get back into one.
This may seem to be a rather depressing or unattractive description of what one may find in a singles club of this type, but I believe in honesty, and this is also a personal observation which others may wish to challenge. There are also quite a few very fine people in our organization, and they represent our hope and future. We want to attract as many well-adjusted singles as possible, and we also hope to be able to provide some help and hope to those who have difficulty in the single life. We encourage our members to be as open-minded and generous as possible, and to concentrate on enjoying each activity and perhaps be friendly to those who may seem troubled or uncomfortable. Each activity has a large number of new people, and it is worthwhile to attend quite a few in order to maximize your chances of meeting someone who may be a potential "significant other". In the meantime, enjoy the activity, and try to "spread your sunshine" to others who may be in need.
Quite simply, no. We encourage membership, but all activities are open to non-members. At some events, we offer a generous discount to members, so that your membership fee quickly pays for itself after a few activities. And, you don't even have to pay for membership. You can also become a member by simply sponsoring, or even helping, with an event. Even if nobody shows up for something you sponsor, as long as it is a valid and appropriate singles function, you still get credit for it with a year's membership. Helping with an event qualifies for membership credit if you arrange beforehand to assist with certain important duties at major functions, such as house parties and dances.
Many singles clubs have regular meetings, with much of the membership in attendance, but we do not. We have tried to hold planning meetings, but they were poorly attended and usually did not produce a very complete calendar. Now, we have quarterly newsletter meetings, where we staple, fold, label, and stamp the newsletters for mailing. Usually, we have about four to eight people in attendance, and that is sufficient.
If there is enough interest, and if someone is willing to sponsor such an activity, we could have some kind of general meeting, or perhaps a discussion group. We have discussed this in the past, but it has never materialized.
This is the question I am most happy to answer. There are any number of things that can be done to make this club better, and there is a lot of work that almost anyone can do. Our club is "member-driven", in that events are sponsored by individual members, rather than dictated by a top executive or committee. Mostly, we need people to sponsor events, particularly things like house parties, which attract a large number of singles, and are comfortable for most people. The most difficult problem for the club is finding people with houses that are suitable for parties, and who are willing to have one or two parties a year. We can also use sponsors for simple events such as dinners, movie nights, and attending cultural events such as the many free concerts and community festivals. Basically, if you think other single people would enjoy it, almost anything would be appropriate.